In his novel, The Testament of Mary, Irish writer Colm Toíbín imagines Mary’s life 20 years after the crucifixion. She is struggling to understand why some people believe Jesus is the son of God, and weighed down by the guilt she feels wondering what she might have done differently to alter — or ease — her son’s fate.
Imagining such violent events as the crucifixion, he says, “is really, really serious work. In other words, you have to go in and pretend … it’s happening now and go into absolute detail, so you’re almost working in the same way maybe a painter is working … [except] that it’s occurring word by word, sentence by sentence.”
You can hear Toíbín’s full interview here
The novel is now out in paperback.
image: Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice. Photograph: Mauro Magliani/Alinari Archives/Corbis via guardian